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Old 04-05-2011, 02:13 PM   #11
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Not sure what you're asking. Dunno what state you even live in. I'm thinking you even need to tell us what budget you're working within.
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codyheitmiller
I did. What they said didn't really help and they made there's from there house
Yep, I think they're mostly mail order, so B&M is zero cost/overhead.

If you're looking to get a loan, aside from some kind of collateral you're going to need a business plan and market/sales projections for 5 years (?). On top of all that most SBA loans require that you've been in the biz for 5 years (?). Not sure where you're at with everything I mentioned so far, but it's easy to start a business, the tough part is keeping it going and making it profitable. Much like any business that deals with living product, loss is a huge issue and unless your profit margin/mark-up isn't at least 125% and loss is kept below 10% (5%?) you'll be in the red every month.

All this is the easy part, wait till you start having put it all together.

Good luck!
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:36 PM   #13
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I'm in Texas, I was just going to do a small little building on a strip mall. And get things worked out there. I'm thinking about government loans. I think I might take a college class for business management.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:47 PM   #14
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I also want a good team and know a little more about sw fish so I don't look like a dumb @$$ like other stores
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:10 PM   #15
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Don't let what I say deter your plans in any way, however take from it what you will.

I too began making plans/ideas on starting up a local fish store, that specialized in Saltwater Fish, Corals, Inverts. I did plan to carry Freshwater fish as well. The building I had found was cheap.. Extremely cheap, at 350 dollars per month for rent. It was spacious over 2000 square foot of store, located in my downtown area. Parking was less then desirable but managable. Projected utility bills were in upwards of 600 a month, Water bill in upwards of 250 a month. And the big hit, was insurance. Insurance was ridiculous, nearly 900 a month. After overcombing the ideas of how much I'd need to maintain the store, then came the initial build fees. To have my local glass company (which i get a 25% discount off their profit margin) to build and setup the 60 30 gallon holding tanks, 4 150 gallon frag tanks, 2 300g display tanks, was going to cost me right around 12,000 dollars. The plumbers estimate to do all the plumbing for the filtration was 3400. The lighting for the store and the tanks was overwhelming. (we never even finished the lighting estimate).
Then there was the task of finding wholesalers willing to work with a new company, and put us on a net 30 business account.

All in all had we continued with the plans the cost of initial setup woulda been in the area of around 35,000 dollars. And thats being quite liberal.

If you do wish to get started, make sure your prepared for alot of heartbreak. The government will not provide you any kind of 'business' grants for this type of business. (as of sept. of last year).

In a city or town where there is already 1 or even 2 or more LFS's your business is doomed to fail, unless you have the capital to out advertise and out price compete your competitors.

Good luck.

Another thing you have to consider too, during the build phase, is that your tanks must meet certain city codes and pass inspections. Its not like throwing a wooden shelf together and tossing up a bunch of 10g or 20g 'home' aquariums will cut the mustard.
Restrooms have to meet several standards, and be handicap accessible if you provide one for your customers.

Another thing too, is strip malls are usually high in rent, and your limited in many ways to what you can do inside the building.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codyheitmiller
I'm in Texas, I was just going to do a small little building on a strip mall. And get things worked out there. I'm thinking about government loans. I think I might take a college class for business management.
That's what I mean by an SBA loan (small biz admin) and if you haven't been in it for a while (sounds like you haven't), they won't even look at your application for a loan.

Phlex found out the easy way, by adding everything up first and I didn't see any mention of zoning, taxes, etc. that eat at the corners of a B&M.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:34 PM   #17
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That's what I mean by an SBA loan (small biz admin) and if you haven't been in it for a while (sounds like you haven't), they won't even look at your application for a loan.

Phlex found out the easy way, by adding everything up first and I didn't see any mention of zoning, taxes, etc. that eat at the corners of a B&M.
Well zoning and property taxes are ideally the property owners expense. Of course where I was looking at moving into, was an established building already zoned commercial. There are permits and fees that are attatched to anything your gonna do within your store, (building wise). The city wants its cut no matter what. And yes you will have to pay sales tax on everything you sell.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:39 PM   #18
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FWIW, my LFS just has 2x4 shelving and a bunch of 55, 75, 20 long, and 10 gallon tanks... They have one acrylic tank? that is separated and has 3 rows with a sump underneath for their saltwater stock. They have a small shop, no restrooms or anything fancy. A couch for the locals to hang out and chat, and a computer to google stuff with. Their problem is advertising. They breed discus and africans, so word of mouth gets around about that... but they also carry many interesting species of fish that most LFS's don't carry. They're working on getting plants too. He's staying afloat right now because of serious hobbyists who know a good lfs and are well connected with others. Now they need to get those who don't frequent forums, and don't have other local friends in the hobby.

Something you have to consider though... You may not think HN1 and severum mama were able to help you out much, but I'm sure they tried. What most people don't realize is that a big majority of the serious hobbyists have went to online ordering. There are more fish available, less diseases, and often better prices. Online sales would benefit you greatly... even if you just started up something in your garage like they did.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:42 PM   #19
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I agree with rook, but one thing im sure that the LFS your speaking about has that he will not, is the building. Im sure they own the building and can do what they will inside, without too much recourse from the city/landlord.

I also agree, online sales can be generated, however you most likely will not see a profit for several years.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codyheitmiller
I'm in Texas, I was just going to do a small little building on a strip mall. And get things worked out there. I'm thinking about government loans. I think I might take a college class for business management.
Where are you in Texas? And how long have you been in the salwater or aquarium hobby? Another thing to consider in your business to help supplement income is aquarium maintenance. During your proposal you will.want to include pictures. Good ones of your aquarium and or aquarium you have set up in the past. The key is knowledge or the perception of knowledge. You may be better served at first to actually run the business out of your home. That can offer benefits as well.
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